I hate pumping. Who actually enjoys pumping? Especially in the work place. Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful to be able to produce milk and even pump in the first place. But yep, I hate it.
After pumping for 15 months and most of that time in the workplace, I’ve listed some trusty tips to help you make pumping at work more efficient. But first, let’s talk about it.
Advocate for yourself
Make sure you know what your company’s policies are. There are laws around women being able to have pump breaks at work so do your research and advocate for yourself. Please know that a bathroom is NOT where you are ever required to breastfeed or pump. You can find your state laws here.
Have I mentioned I really dislike pumping?
I can remember when the baby was a newborn and my husband would get him overnight so I could have solid sleep. The plan was to pump and give my husband the bottle of expressed milk.
I distinctly recall getting very frustrated and upset because I would rather wake up and nurse the baby than pump. It took what felt like forever. I didn’t want to have to think and put parts together. I especially didn’t want to sit up straight. Either way, your body needs to release the milk so you can make more and avoid mastitis.
Supply and demand
By the time I returned to work I was rocking and rolling in my breastfeeding journey and milk production was not an issue. But again, it’s a supply and demand deal. That means in order for me to keep production up I had to pump to keep up my end of the deal.
When it came to work I was busy focusing on the projects I had to catch up on while I was out. Not to mention the typical day to day duties that needed to get done. I knew I needed an efficient plan to make this pumping thing work at work. Ha work at work…See what I did there! 🙂
Mama’s pumping at work hustle hacks:
1.Create a pumping schedule
When I got back to work without my baby, I did notice a dip in supply. For me, it was because I couldn’t nurse on demand. It was also because I was stressed.
Stress and not nursing on demand can both be contributing factors. I needed a way to let my body know what expectations to meet. However, I needed a way to make sure I did that! So I came up with a schedule during work that worked for me.
2. Put the schedule on your calendar
The main point is that you stick to it as strictly as possible. Put the times on your work calendar and schedule yourself as unavailable. Set an alarm as well so that you have an audible cue.
Putting it on the calendar will make you avoid setting and attending meetings during your pump time. Be sure to include how long your pumping session will take. They are typically about 15-20 minutes. Keep reading for more hacks on how to keep this closer to the 15 min mark.
3 Proper storage
Know how long you can store the expressed breast milk at at room temperature. You can visit this article for more information on this. Hopefully your workplace has refrigeration if you find yourself in need. If not, then you could purchase a small personal refrigerator or keep it cool with ice packs in a cooler.
4 Dress the part
This will save you so much time. Do yourself a favor and invest in a good hands free nursing bra. I’ve seen that you can even make your own with a sports bra. If you’ve tried that, leave a comment linking a good tutorial please!
You also want nursing friendly tops so you can stay as covered as possible. This is not just for the modest at heart, but also because it saves time!
5 Refrigerate your pump parts
Can we say GAME CHANGER homie?! Yall, I was washing pump parts after each use. Basically wasting my time. Especially with multiple pumping sessions when you first return to work! Put those pump parts in a sealed plastic bag, refrigerate after each use and leave them be for the day.
Your designated pumping room should lock. However, whether is does or not you need to have a sign posted. It’s still good etiquette and hopefully you will be able to pump in peace.
It was a way for me to communicate with those that either needed the room or needed me. A simple sign noting that you are pumping and maybe for how long will do.
Here we go
If you notice a dip in supply when returning to work, I would suggest contacting La Leche League for more tips and support. Power pumping and letting the baby nurse whenever they want once you are reunited are great ways to increase your supply.
Having a properly packed pumping bag with a content checklist will help reduce time and stress as well. I found a list to be super convenient, but then again I LOVE checklists. It does wonders for my mom brain.
With a list I don’t have to go searching for items or forget things. Trust me, once you put the sign on the door, get the nursing bra on and realize you forgot the pump flanges …you make a list lol.
So I’ve said this a lot : stress can cause milk supply to decrease. If possible, set up a pumping station that provides comfort and reduces stress. Stay hydrated, eat well, and stay on schedule.
Another trick to get the milk flowing is to think about all that good bonding you squeezed in with your baby on maternity leave. Advocate for yourself with the laws and documentation if you need to. It’s not as intimidating as you may think. Most supervisors are actually quite supportive.
Sharing is caring
Pin this article to your Pinterest board for safekeeping. Share it with other working moms that pump too!
Have you had to pump at work? Are you planning on it? Have you come across any other pumping at work hacks? Share your thoughts below in the comments and let me know if this was helpful to you.
Thanks for hanging out with me!
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